Outrage about the current immigration crisis has come to a head this week as US citizens point the finger of blame at President Barack Obama. According to Politico.com, the number of illegal immigrant minors coming into the US will exceed 90,000 before the end of the year–a threefold increase from last year. These underage immigrants are fleeing to the US from drug-ridden countries like Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
The number of underage illegal immigrants is skyrocketing and as the immigration problem becomes more sever, critics of the president blame the problem on his 2012 executive action allowing some illegal immigrants to stay in the United States. These individuals, which have become known as “dreamers,” are considered by Obama-opponents to set a precedent for more illegal immigrants, especially unaccompanied minors coming to America in hopes to live with distant relatives who are most likely part of the “dreamer” population.
The trend in immigration numbers that has resulted in today’s crisis began in 2009, when a surge in illegal immigration from Central America could be seen in multiple countries, not just the United States. According to Vox, another surge occurred in 2011. Because the current pattern in illegal immigration began long before Obama’s 2012 executive action, it is hard to blame the president for the crisis erupting on our Southwest border.
If you do want to blame Obama for allowing dreamers to stay in the country, perhaps we should look at why those dreamers came here in the first place: jobs. And who was giving them jobs? Wealthy corporate 1%-ers looking to save a buck on cheap labor. Because corporate America wanted to pay less than minimum wage, they took advantage of desperate immigrants who would work for next to nothing. Still want to blame Obama for immigration problems? You do? Then let me continue.
The dreamers first came to America for jobs because there were no jobs in their impoverished and violence-stricken home countries. Their countries were decimated by drug-related gang wars and criminal activity. As ironic as it may seem, this drug underworld was and is fueled nearly entirely by the United States’ need for illegal drugs.
According to a 2013 report from MSNBC.com, the United States is the world’s single largest consumer of illegal drugs, meaning the majority of blame for drug cartel violence in Latin America can be placed on American drug users, sellers, and dealers.
America’s need for illegal drugs created unprecedented violence, poverty, and unemployment in Central American countries. Because of this violence, poverty, and unemployment, Central American immigrants fled their homes and were welcomed into America with open arms thanks to America’s need for cheap labor. And yet, somehow, all of this is Obama’s fault?
I’m not saying Barack Obama is the perfect president. What I’m saying is that maybe Americans need to stop using him as a scape goat and realize that this immigration crisis is 100% our fault. If America wants to slow the hemorrhage of underage immigrants overwhelming our southwest, we need to hold employers accountable for illegal employment practices, and we need to address our country’s drug addiction.
The immigration crisis is just one of many symptoms of America’s thirst for drugs and cheap labor. We need to treat the illness, not the symptoms, and blaming Barack Obama does not count as treating the illness.
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Anna is a freelance writer/producer based out of San Francisco. Her writing covers several genres, but her passion lies in humor, entertainment, education and culture.